The study on the generation and management of WEEE in the Republic of Moldova

Published: July 10, 2022

In the Republic of Moldova, according to the Regional E-waste Monitor CIS+Georgia, 2021, each citizen generates on average 4.9 kg of WEEE annually or a total of 17.4 thousand tons, of which only 0.04 kg of WEEE/person is managed eco-responsibly. These modest results are conditioned by the lack of recycling infrastructure at national level and the dependence on other European countries for treatment activities. Authorized operators only carry out the activity of collection and transport.

For 2020, according to data published by the Environment Agency, only 330 tons of WEEE (or 1.9 % of the total generated) were collected by operators. These "modest" results are largely determined by the poor logistics infrastructure as well as a further low level of understanding and responsibility of natural and legal persons regarding the rules for the separate collection of WEEE and the obligation to work only with authorized operators for collection and transportation of WEEE, even if no economic remuneration results.

The study highlights several obstacles in the process of improving WEEE management processes, with possible solutions/recommendations structured hierarchically for representatives of several target groups. As an example, the data collected and published in this study present a first national analysis on the concept of #REPAIR (Repair), as the most optimal solution to reduce WEEE according to the Waste Hierarchy and the best way to slow down the growth of WEEE- forecasted for the coming years.

Some of the results of the study:

• 4 out of 10 households keep/store WEEE;

• 2 out of 10 households give WEEE to scrap metal, and 1 out of 10 households throw it in the garbage, along with other waste;

• 1 out of 2 respondents of the study mentioned that equipment waste is NOT collected in the locality, 2 out of 10 said that WEEE is collected free of charge, and 1 out of 10 mentioned that WEEE is collected against payment;

• 25% of the respondents mentioned that in the locality there are people who drive and collect WEEE;

• 47% of the respondents do NOT know if the mobile collectors in the locality are authorized, and 63% - DO NOT know how the WEEE recycling process takes place for them;

• 9 out of 10 households have at least one unused/non-functional mobile phone in the household;

• Half of the respondents mentioned that the lack of collection points is the main obstacle for NOT collecting WEEE;

• Half of the respondents believe that it is most convenient for them to have someone come to pick up WEEE from home;

• 2 out of 3 respondents want to know more about the chemical composition of EEE;

• 7 out of 10 respondents consider the Internet to be the most important source of information regarding the reuse and recycling of WEEE.

The study is developed by AO EcoDigital within the Project "We recycle WEEE and achieve the SDGs" carried out with the financial support of the GEF Small Grants Program, implemented by UNDP Moldova in partnership with the AO Training and Consultancy Center "E-CIRCULAR", the College of Ecology, ECO Recycling SRL and Moldrec Grup SRL.